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SPECIAL EDITION: Grants Available & Views from Around the World

Below are links and articles provided to help volunteer managers with disaster recovery efforts from Hurrican Katrina. Please email us at: editor@volunteertoday.com if you have additional information or links that you would like to share with your professional counterparts around the country. We will post them as we receive them.

Return to Katrina Resources page for more links to information

Volunteer Ham Radio Operators to Receive Grant To Enhance Emergency Communications in Hurricane Region

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Corporation for National and Community Service today announced a supplemental grant of $100,000 to the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) to support volunteer emergency communication operators who are helping out in Gulf Coast states affected by Hurricane Katrina.

"With the breakdown of regular communication channels caused by the storm, the services provided by volunteer ham radio operators is vitally important, both to organizations and to individuals seeking to connect with loved ones," said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation. "We're pleased to be able to provide this extra assistance at this critical time."

The grant will support ARRL's "Ham Aid" program, which was established with a grant from the Corporation in 2002 to increase emergency certification training for ham radio operators. Corporation funds may also be used to help rebuild the emergency communications capabilities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Since the storm hit, amateur radio operators with ARRL have been working side by side with volunteers from the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other relief organizations to help coordinate those groups' emergency communications activities. In the run-up to the Katrina's hitting the U.S. mainland, volunteer amateur radio operators also worked with the National Hurricane Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor the storm and to help prepare the Gulf Coast for its arrival.

Approximately 500 ham operators currently are deployed in the Gulf area and hundreds more are expected to arrive in teams over the next several weeks. Many currently are awaiting permission to enter the disaster areas to set up communications systems to transmit and receive messages both for relief organizations and for individuals wishing to get messages out to concerned families. While in the region, the radio operators will also be developing new relationships with local community groups, including faith-based organizations, food banks, and shelters.

The Ham Aid program was developed by ARRL, based in Newington, Connecticut, under a 2002 training grant from the Corporation. The three-year grant was one of 18 Special Volunteer Program Homeland Security Grants awarded by the agency in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks to engage volunteers in public safety, public health, and disaster preparedness and response activities. Thus far, the grant has enabled ARRL to provide certification in emergency communications protocols to more than 5,400 volunteer amateur radio operators.

Submitted by Jayne Cravens in Germany 9/2/05

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Volunteer Pilots Receive Grant to Support Hurricane Katrina Medical and Search and Rescue Efforts

The Corporation for National and Community Service has announced a $134,000 grant supplement to Mercy Medical Airlift to support volunteer pilots to undertake medical and search and rescue missions in states affected by Hurricane Katrina. The Corporation grant will support a projected 200 "ambulatory missions," which include all flights into and out of the disaster region for patients, search and rescue teams, incident command teams, outside agency personnel, state and national level personnel, blood and blood products, and small high-priority cargo. It will also cover the costs of a limited number of flights out of the disaster region for patients requiring medical attention in flight.

Mercy Medical Airlift is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA, with a 30 year record of serving people in situations of compelling human need through the provision of charitable air transportation. It operates the Homeland Security Emergency Air Transportation System (HSEATS) which engages volunteer pilots to undertake medical and search and rescue missions in the affected states. HSEATS is implemented primarily through regional Angel Flight organizations. The HSEATS program was developed under a 2002 grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

The volunteer pilots live all over the United States. They are linked with agreements and operational protocols to support all the major volunteer organizations involved in disaster response. Supported by a well-developed communications network, MMA is coordinating its response with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD), State VOADs, FEMA, and public and private state and local emergency response agencies.

For more information, visit http://www.nationalservice.gov.

Submitted by: Jayne Cravens of Resources and Services for Civil Society & Mission-Based Organizations (the person posting this information has NO further information).

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Some European Views of the Aftermath of Katrina

Volunteer Today has a network of trainers, consultants, managers of volunteer programs who contribute to its depth of information. To help managers of volunteer organizations and programs cope with the disaster of Katrina we are gathering information from a variety of sources. This perspective is offered by Jayne Cravens, a USA citizen and volunteer management consultant who has lived for the past four years in Germany:

The impression many Americans have -- at least those who have never left the USA, and that's a vast majority of its native-born citizens -- is that Europeans don't like Americans, that they feel outright hostility to the USA. Nothing could be farther from the truth: I've yet to meet a European, or even someone from the Middle East, who does not like Americans. Most people I know have American friends, and most have been to the USA and enjoyed it very much.

But in these days after Katrina, I'm noticing a stark contrast in the response by Europeans compared to September 11, 2001. Four years ago, I was besieged by phone calls, emails and office visits from people wanting to know how they could help the people of the USA. This week, I've received not even one inquiry on how to help.

What's up? In asking various European friends -- German, French, English and Spanish -- about how they feel about helping the USA this time around, they have all said that they are very sorry for what has happened. However, they also feel that:

  • The federal government of the USA didn't appreciate the outpouring of support by Europe and other countries regarding September 11, so why should they offer help again?
  • The USA leadership has bragged for the last few years of how its the expert in "nation building," so, it should be perfectly capable of handling a crisis on their own soil.
  • One person said, "You are the richest country on Earth, by far. Why aren't you handling this properly?"
  • Another commented on how USA leadership talks about how they have all these volunteers ready to go help everywhere else. "Where are they now?," asked one friend.

Other comments I've heard are regarding Americans reactions to rising gas prices relating to the Katrina disaster. The Europeans I've talked to have said, for the most part, "Welcome to our world." Gas here in Europe has been over $5 a gallon for many years, and Europeans drive small, sensible cars -- and keep them for years, as opposed to constantly trading in. I've heard endless comments and jokes since moving here over the USA's love of gas-guzzlers, and the embarrassing lack of mass transit in America. "Where were the trains to help people to leave New Orleans?" one person asked me. I did not know how to answer.

I think Europeans are also experiencing a realization of something they never knew before -- the extreme poverty that is present in the USA. Based on the images on the news and the entertainment media, they are under the impression that every person in the USA has two cars and endless amounts of clothes. That people could be too poor to leave a city is astounding to them.

None of the above is, by any means, the results of scientific survey. But I do think it is an accurate reflection of how many Europeans are feeling. Again, they feel great sympathy for what's happening in the American gulf coast. The images of suffering are heart-breaking to everyone. But few are feeling the motivation to offer help. They are watching, and wondering, why "the greatest nation on Earth" is faltering so badly in its own back yard

Submitted by Jayne Cravens, Germany

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